First, I’d like to introduce you all to The Institute of Functional Medicine, a foundation of clinical researches on nutraceutical products and healing foods. It has a research clinic in Gig Harbor, Washington where many double-blinded, placebo-controlled studies and clinical trials have been carefully conducted to study the health benefits of detoxification nutrients and diet in the past 4 decades. For more information on the Institute of Functional Medicine, you can check their website at www.functionalmedicine.org.
Being a member of this academic body, I have been informed of all the amazing clinical results derived from their work and I have been applying all the scientifically proven treatment guidelines they have recommended to physicians all over the world. Furthermore, in the past 21 years while working with hundreds of patients who have benefited greatly from the 6-week detox program, I have seen with my own eyes the great results that can come from simple changes in diet, lifestyle, and the utilization of medical foods. Patients often come in to see me with a long list of symptoms and after 6 weeks of changing their diet and improving their detox organs, at least 50% of these symptoms resolve without any intervention of medications, supplements, or hormones. Metabolic detoxification process helps us get to the roots of the problems by eliminating the superficial layer of symptoms, exposing the causes of illness whether it’s some adrenal dysfunction resulting from chronic stress mal-adaptation, thyroid deficiency from an old viral infection, or even some psychological/emotional trauma from a relationship in the past. Metabolic detoxification process also addresses the whole body, not a single organ or system; thereby restore biochemical and physiological balances in the body. Here are some of the proven health benefits of the detox program:
Being one of the most important detoxifying organs in the body, the liver filters millions of chemicals and hormones in the bloodstream and eliminates these waste products through the gastrointestinal tract and the kidneys.
Medical foods (designed by the Institute of Functional Medicine) contains all the macro and micro nutrients required to support all enzymatic pathways in the liver, thereby enhancing the liver’s functions. You name it – the scientists put all the factors, co-enzymes, catalysts, vitamins, amino acids, etc… together and formulate a protein powder that supports the liver and its functions. This medical food also helps repair damaged liver cells and has been found to be very beneficial in chronic liver inflammation or infection due to viruses.
Healing foods such as artichokes, turmeric, carrots, beets, etc… are strongly recommended to be a part of the detox diet. They have properties that are very healing to the liver cells. Details of the detox diet will be described later in this booklet.
Your Gastrointestinal Tract
The detox diet is designed to exclude many common allergens such as dairy, soy, eggs, wheat and gluten grains, sugar, simple carbohydrates, etc… Eliminating these foods will help reduce inflammation in the lining of intestinal cells since many of us are either allergic or sensitive to these foods. Exposure to these foods daily can create inflammation which interferes with the assimilation of foods and nutrients.
Friendly bacteria are often reintroduced back as part of detoxification. They help reestablish a good intestinal flora which is essential to the digestion of foods, the prevention of parasite infections, and the elimination of hormone waste products.
Other benefits of detoxification are:
Your Hormone Metabolism
Hormones are produced in the organ or tissues and get delivered to target tissues or organs to have an influence on the cell’s activities. Once they are done with their jobs, many get shipped to the liver to be de-activated and prepared for the eliminatory processes via the bowel, kidneys, skin, or lungs. As we improve the functions of the liver and the gastrointestinal tract, we also improve how hormones are metabolized. This will reduce the accumulation of hormone or hormone products in the body and reduce their side effects. Thus, you may experience:
Your Musculoskeletal System (Joints, Bones, Muscles)
Many of my patients notice many positive changes with their joints and muscles from detoxification. As toxins build up in the body, they tend to gravitate mostly to the fat tissue. However, the joint and muscles are also the second most favorite storage places for toxins. As you detoxify your blood, the enhanced circulation to these areas will promote the removal of unfriendly chemicals and the repair of joints and muscles with nutrients and medicines from the medical foods. The anti-inflammatory diet you are put on with a strong focus on omega-3 fatty acids will reduce inflammation in the joints and muscles. Identifying possible food allergens and eliminating them from the diet will significantly reduce pain and inflammation in the joints. What some of you may experience are:
Your Cardiovascular System
With the combined medical foods and detox diet, most the patients notice a significant improvement in their cholesterol and lipid count. It’s not uncommon to see a 50 point drop in cholesterol level after 6 weeks of detox. Many of my patients like to run a Cardiovascular Risk Profile prior to detoxification to obtain a baseline of their blood levels of total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, homocysteine, fibrinogen (clotting factor), C-reactive protein (inflammation marker), etc… After going through the detox, patients are asked to have the panel redrawn and most often see positive changes in these tests. There is no secret about this. The liver makes 90-95% of the circulating cholesterol so enhancing the liver functions will automatically fix any issues you might have with high cholesterol problem. The detox diet focuses on high fiber, high fruit and vegetables, low fat, low sugar foods and that certainly helps reducing inflammation in the blood vessels and reduces cholesterol and lipid levels. Occasionally I stumble across someone who didn’t show any positive changes to his or her levels after detox. When that happens, we get together to discuss other possible causes for their abnormal test results and come up with a more aggressive treatment plan.
Once again, the health benefits described above have been observed in many of my patients and in those who participate in studies done at the Institute of Functional Medicine. I’d like to make an important note that the health benefits achieved from this detox program vary from individuals to individuals. We are all made up differently- genetically, biochemically, and physiologically. Therefore, we heal at different rate and in many ways. The general expectations that are almost always met are a general improvement of well being and that metabolic detox introduces you to another way to look at foods as medicine and how to eat effectively and healthfully to regain your health.
By Dr. Mylinh Vo, ND, ABAAHP